A word from XPO’s Vice President, Health and Safety, Greg Pawelski
The National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC), also known as the Super Bowl of Safety, is the biggest competitive driving event in our industry. We’re proud of how our 32 safety professionals performed this year in Indianapolis – including two national championships – and we know our drivers are already preparing for next year.
Each month over the next year, we’ll take you on the journey to NTDC 2023. Through behind-the-scenes content from NTDC 2022, safety tips from our top drivers and other competitive driving news, you’ll learn what it takes to be considered among the safest drivers in the country. This month, you’ll hear from Clint Schultz, a customer service representative in Pocatello, Idaho who previously competed at the NTDC. His son, Kolton, 25, qualified for this year’s NTDC after just 18 months as a driver for XPO.
My son Kolton didn’t just grow up around trucks – he grew up in them.
During my 30 years as a driver, I would bring my three children with me on over-the-road runs during their summer vacations.
My sons Kaden and Kolton, and my daughter, Ashlyn, would pile in the cab with me and spend weeks at a time out on the road, seeing the country, creating memories and experiencing life as a driver.
I’m proud that out of all the careers he could have pursued, Kolton chose to become a driver. It’s great to see that there are young drivers taking the profession seriously. Not just to do the job well, but to put in the extra hours during their personal time to practice for driving competitions. That type of commitment shows that Kolton, and the other young drivers competing, care about becoming the best drivers possible.
This year’s NTDC was special. In a way, my son and I have swapped roles. During my years competing, Kolton would help me practice for competitions and attend them with me. Now, I was the one helping him get ready for both the state TDC and the NTDC once he qualified.
We spent a lot of time together on the practice courses. I tried to make the pre-trip practice as tricky as possible for him since it would help him get ready for the national championship. You name it – covered taillights, windshield damage, partially deployed landing gear, etc. – and I threw it at him during practice. It was great father-son bonding time.
Before the NTDC, I wasn’t focused on how Kolton would perform. I knew the other drivers in the sleeper class would be elite, and the competition would be fierce. But that’s not really the important part.
The important part is that he enjoyed the experience, had fun and stayed safe. I know firsthand that most drivers who compete at the state level don’t qualify for nationals: while I was fortunate to compete at the NTDC during my career, my dad drove for more than 20 years and never qualified.
Getting to the NTDC means you’re one of the best, and safest, drivers in the country. I’m proud to count my son among them. Great job, Kolton! But remember, it’s time to start practicing for next year.